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tv   [untitled]    October 13, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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expecting. i think it is time we set out a consistent message to applicants that what is expected here is an acknowledgement and a depiction of the circumstance in which we are, that is include photographs of the buildings, some short narrative about what the inside are surrounding this particular project, and slightly more involved, readable drawings, which consistently in a scale or manner what is intended here. i am repeating that my particular package misses the two upper proposed floors of what's intended here. i might be the only one. on the other hand, i know how to read plans and imagine what is proposed here. so i don't want to make a big deal. i want to repeat my concerns about the department not using consistent standards when it comes to bringing d.r.'s to this
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particular commission. president olague: one of the speakers mentioned concerns around the construction and the noise and this type of thing. and that there would be a contact person should any of that get a little bit out of hand. but i'm wondering how many of those are just automatically part of the approval? i think we have some conditions already in place along those lines. which part is d.b.i., right? that regulates those types of things. just wanted to clarify them. commissioner miguel? >> i am going to absolutely agree with commissioner moore. the packet particularly on the d.r. should have given us more material in my mind. the drawings i do not think are adequate. also not the expertise of commissioner moore, trying to learn on the job, so to speak,
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to interpret these. but i think for the general public, they see the materials, it would be a little more clarity to it of what we're actually looking at. president olague: commissioner antonini? commissioner antonini: someone said this rises to the level to take d.r. as far as the whole project is concerned. however, i agree with commissioner moore and commissioner miguel. the plans lack a lot. and the design of the front i think needs work. and perhaps as we always say, i think it's very important that project sponsor continue to work with staff on the appearance of the facade, particularly as commissioner moore pointed out, i think the treatment of the garage -- i don't know if you can do too much with the garage door, but you certainly can make the entrance a little more appealing perhaps and do some things with the windows. that face the front.
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president olague: commissioner moore? commissioner moore: are you amending your motion to take d.r. and request that this project be for the work done? >> i didn't make the motion. president olague: the maker of the motion was commissioner miguel. commissioner moore: i'd like to make an alternative motion -- >> we have a motion on the floor, and that's what we're working on. president olague: you can introduce amendments. the only motion that super -- supersedes a motion would be one for continuance. >> i just want to clarify, if i can. i was talking more in terms of -- i was agreeing with the motion, but i was saying that it's important that project sponsor work with staff on design issues as we talked about, in regards to the facade. >> i would agree with that, but
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i don't think it's necessary to take d.r. just as a suggestion that the staff continue to work with the project sponsor regarding design. president olague: call the question. >> the question on the floor for both demolition and new construction is to not take discretionary review on approve. on that motion for both components on the project -- [roll call] that motion passed 4-1. you are now on item number 12.
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commissioner moore: could i ask a question? if the commission approves the project but has suggested they work with staff, is that only a suggestion or is that a request? because we have approved the project. and we have not conditioned it on to continue. what does that mean? >> i always take those requests seriously, and so we will have the project sponsor work with staff and david winslow, the architect on the staff, to come up with some changes to the frnt of the building. president olague: we've done that several times here on the d.r.'s, so it's not a precedent-setting event or motion.
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>> good evening, commissioners, president olague. planning department staff. you have before you request for discretionary review on a permit to convert an existing single family dwelling of approximately 2,860 square feet into a two-family dwelling. the upper unit will be approximately 1,760 square feet and the lower will be approximately 1,100 square feet. this will be done through an interior remodel with no expansion to the building envelope. i'll give you a little history to why this case is before you today. it began as a code enforcement complaint, of which i am the southeast code enforcement planner. so around august of 2010, i received a complaint that there was being work done outside of
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the scope of a permit. we issued -- we requested d.b.i. issue a stop work order, which they did in september, and the d.r. requester filed an appeal of that particular permit and requested jurisdiction on a previously issued permit from march. in november, the request for jurisdiction was denied and the appeal of the permit was also denied. the d.r. requester then requested a rehearing, which was subsequently denied in january, and also filed an appeal of the categorical exemption before the board of supervisors. the board of supervisors denied that appeal as well. after all of those alterations and hearings were done, the project sponsor filed the permit to change the use, which is the permit which is before you today.
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under request for discretionary review. we went through the neighborhood notification process, and the d.r. requester filed for d.r. in august. some things to consider are that the special youth district has parking requirements that are triggered when there is an addition to a building. one of the amazing things about this case is there was in addition to a building, and one of the results of the board of appeals hearing was that the existing footprint is legally existing noncompliant. so that's what the department has to work with. that what is there is legally existing noncompliant. so no parking requirements were triggered by the change of use. nor was a variance required because based on the board of
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appeals decision, what is existing is their legally and noncompliance, so there was no variance required. and that concludes my presentation. if you have any questions, i'm available. president olague: thank you. d.r. requester. >> president olague, members of the commission, my name is john soto, i am the immediate neighbor to the south of ken lindy's lane. the greater explains in greater context. the new owners have stated their intention to have their parents live with them in this house. permits would allow this intergenerational housing. what they are now asking is that the residents be converted to two legal units without off street parking. they claim this will not affect the increased severe parking problems in this alley because
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they have only one come -- one compact car. they use a bike and the parents will take muni railway. this may be fine for now, but situations change. houses get sold. and ultimately, parking problems will become more severe. too many issues here, first the parking. we have two children in our home and one vehicle. there are five houses that run on this short alley. one has a garage in use. one has a garage that's been converted to a laundry room. the remaining three have no off street parking. there are only seven parking places on this little alley and as few as five on the park. we've been there for several years. several years ago, there was no parking problem. in recent years, we've had large condo projects and nearby mission street.
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and downtown parking problems have greatly increased our parking problems. it seems that many commuters park free in our area and take muni downtown because parking is so expensive down there. the second major issue is the permit process. plans for this project were originally submitted to planning with two units modified by crossing out the word bedroom in the first floor of the basement and replacing it with office. avoiding 311 notification and discretionary review during the main permit process until after the basement was dug out and rebuild. nose plans also included major patches by planning, working with the board of appeals, including drastically enlarging the square footage from 1250 to 2860 square feet. the enlargement is a technicality, and now the new unit is to be improved without a
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variance for off street parking because it would be local in the bernal heights special district code. i would like to note the bernal heights plan review board is trying to get this loophole closed. this permit is requested for approval based on a series of permits and a technicality rather than an umbrella permit, inspite of the half dozen household protests that were submitted. i was the manager of the civil service commission examination division. i had prime responsibility for hiring city employees. under mayor feinstein, i had to make sure that the city was fully integrated under a consent decree with the department of justice. my wife also ran a special program that allowed temporary employees to become permanent under this consent decree.
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i also the responsibility for hiring police officers and firefighters for over 15 years. in our careers in these sensitive occupations, we always sought to do our work in accordance with the spirit and letter of the law. we feel that the city is not properly protected our rights. this permit is discretionary, we request that you deny it or request that the plans stay in their current form. it also appears that there may be an original unit, but planning apparently has interpreted the rooms to be discretionary. we are not sure what we can do about that. i thank you for your consideration. and i would note that i am greatly outnumbered here today. president olague: thank you, sir. are there speakers in support of the d.r. requester? seeing none, project sponsor?
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>> hello. i'm seth bore. i'm the architect of record on the project before you. and i'd like to put an image up on the slide, if i could, of the front of the house. this is in your packets. the content of the d.r. request is a repetition of content already presented to the board of appeals and board of supervisors in december and appeals that were already rejected by both of those boards. the board of appeals specifically considered the question of whether all of the floor space in this home was already existing and usable. the board of appeals decided against the d.r. requester's claims at three separate hearings. the scope of this project effectively legitimizes an existing second dwelling unit,
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which was created by a previous owner in the lower floor of this rh-2 zoned home. the work being performed is very simple. it's replacing a wet bar with a true kitchen sink and stove and adding a single interior door and interior stairway to close off the lower floor from the upstairs floor. none of this work is visible from the outside. the section of the planning code written specifically for this project's bernal heights neighborhood has a party of its stated purpose to encourage development in context and scale with the established crarbgt. in my professional opinion, it's clear that our project not only meters the letters of this code, but also the spirit. for this work along with the owner's previous alteration work has managed to bring an aging structure up to current building code, strengthen it seismically, all while sustaining the character of the existing building, all without adding additional square footage or
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increasing the footprint of the structure. we actually reduced the footprint of the existing structure. the parking space is clearly not indicated for our project by the planning code. adding parking to this project is not required by the planning code and it would also be next to impossible to put in place, and we argue it would do more harm than good to the character of the neighborhood. if i can go to a slide again. you can see from the bay window that in order to add parking here, we would have to
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substantially raise the entire building up to get a garage door under it, which would impact the character of the street and the structure itself. in addition to that, from a wider shot, you can see that the likely place for that garage door being under the bay window would actually cut the sidewalk down and separate it from a curb existing at this building. we would delete at least two parking spaces on the street for whatever parking spaces we got off street. the d.r. requester has also suggested that we subdivided the permits for this project to accomplish in two permits what we would not have been able to accomplish in one. that's simply not true. there's nothing in our series of permits that would be unacceptable if combined into a single permit. we planned the two major portions of the work as separate pieces simply for practical purposes of schedule and budget. by completing the alteration work first, we hope to get the family living in their house and out from under a double mortgage as soon as possible.
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we were clear about our two-phase plans for the house in communications with neighbors and with the northwest bernal design review board when we met to discuss the project several months before we applied for a remodeling permit. so i suggest again that this project is not only in keeping with the code, it's good for the neighborhood, what was once a severely dilapidated building is now rehabilitated and housing stock has been added all while maintaining the character of the house and the neighborhood. the project has brought neighborhood support, and in exhibit c of your packet, you'll find letters from neighbors on this alleyway and the surrounding blocks. thank you for your time. president olague: are there speakers in support of the d.r. requester? i mean of the project sponsor. >> my name is anne hughes and i'm a san francisco unified public schoolteacher.
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my husband sam ball is the director at the non-profit citizen film. we purchased the building together with my inlaws because we wanted to live together as an extended family. we chose the location of our house so we can be deeply involved in the community we serve. our kids ava and jacob attend our neighborhood spanish school. we purchased a severely dilapidated home because that was the kind of building we could afford. before beginning the renovation, we let the city and our neighbors know our intention for our house.
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three unanimous decisions on the same project. yet despite all the support, our project to rehabilitate a severely dilapidated house and make it livable for our family has already been delayed for many months as a result of the previous rejected appeals by the d.r. applicant. all told, this extraordinarily long process has cost my husband and me the equivalent of my salary this year and it's cost my inlaws more than a year of time with their grandchildren. thank you. >> i'm anne's husband sam and i'd like to read a statement from my parents david and nicole ball, who own this house with us. for four decades, we taught high school and college in western massachusetts. we are retired and we would like to move into our house. we used much of our life savings
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to buy it. we want to live in the same building as our children and grandchildren, but of course, we envision a separate life for ourselves. the life we have enjoyed as a couple for decades. we bought a house that needed extensive renovation, but the price was one we could afford, unlike all the other properties we saw that matched our needs. we would like to have a door separating our floor from the floors occupied by our family, like most people, we value our privacy. the reasons why we want a stove are obvious. we like to cook for ourselves and invite friends over for dinner, too. in his letter, the d.r. requester expresses concern about being able to find parking once we are moved in. we would like the d.r. requester to know we have always used public transportation and will continue to do so. we are here for the long haul. we ask the planning commission to consider our situation and do what it can to resolve it swiftly.
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thank you. president olague: thank you. are there any additional speakers in support of the project sponsor? if so, please line up on that side of the wall or come up to the mic immediately. thank you. you all get three minutes. >> my name is rebecca elner and i'd like to read a letter from the d.r. requester's next door neighbor on the other side who could not be here tonight because she takes care of her husband, who has alzheimer's. the letter was written in spanish, so i'm going to read the original first and then i'll read the translation in english. [speaking in spanish]
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[speaking in spanish] >> and the translation says i am writing to support the efforts of the new property owners of this house who have the right to live in the house, grandparents as well as the children and the parents all together in peace. i looked at the plans and they appear fine to me. the house will not change in size. they are only going to repair it so it will be more habitable. i don't want them to stop the construction or have to sell the house without finishing construction because that would be very bad for the block and the neighborhood. i've lived in the neighborhood over 40 years. sincerely, mariano sandoval. thank you. president olague: thank you.
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>> good evening. my name is barbara simons, and i am a neighbor and a 20-year resident of bernal heights. and i have known anne hughes for 25 years, and having taught side by side with her for eight years, i know firsthand what a dedicated teacher and human being she is. without sharing this two-family home with her inlaws, this excellent san francisco public schoolteacher would not be able to afford this home in bernal heights. i'm also a friend of the grandparents david and nicole ball. it's their retirement dream to live in the same house with their son and only grandchildren. this was the reason that they purchased this property. david and nicole are planning to live in the lower unit and sam and his family are living above. the delay in this move is causing the ball family great emotional distress. how can one justify the continued obstructions preventing the completion of an
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apartment that will have no affect on -- effect on anyone living outside the home. it can't be the parking issue, as mr. soto claims, when the four adults have but one vehicle. this family relies on muni and bicycles as their primary modes of transportation. the argument that this extepided family's one vehicle is going to have a negative impact on the neighborhood is specious, groundless, and ridiculous. it is an injustice that this family has had to endure extreme fiscal and emotional hardships. nicole and david are retired teachers, hoping to be part of their grandchildren's daily lives. this time to them is precious. anne and sam are good hard-working people trying to carve out a life for three generations in our lovely neighborhood of bernal heights. please don't allow these plans to be further delayed. thank you.
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>> hello, my name is lisa, and i work with anne. i've known her for four years and not only are we co-workers, but we're also friends and we actually car pool together. not only do we car pool, but we also ride muni together. i think she's a fabulous teacher. and she's tight with everybody at our school. she's a lovely colleague and she has the whole staff over to her house. she's very warm and welcoming and loving, and i adore her, i love working side by side with her, and i want her to stay in san francisco. i want her family to stay in san francisco. and to piggy back on what the architect said, we want to get anne and her family in her house as soon as possible. just coming down to a parking
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spot, i think that that's really unfair. i think that she deserves to have the home that she deserves. thank you. >> good evening, commissioners. thank you for your time. i'm here as a friend of almost 20 years of anne and sam. second as a proxy speaker for two of the 40 neighbors who have already proposed their support for this project. >> your name is? >> my name is kathleen henley. this first note is from shelly galivan. part of her house is directly across the street from the subject property. she writes i live at 6 prospect e, and i am writing in regard to permit 2011.033. i could not be here tonight because i am taking care of our newborn baby. i strongly agree that this permit should be upheld. my rear windows look on to the building and the house looks
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good to me. i appreciate all the work the new owners have done. i understand the purpose of this permit is to convert this to a two-family dwelling. it has been held by a previous appeals. i hope you'll do whatever you can to bring this project to completion. this next statement is from lawrence who lives directly across the street from the subject property. he writes i live at 8 prospect in san francisco. my property is directly across the street from the property in question. i have lived here for almost six years. i was very pleased to learn that it sold as it meant the likelihood that the home would be renovated. i have gone through the house during the open house period and was horrified at what i saw. i first received a copy of the plans in february of 2010, both here and at my p.o. box at stanford university where i am employed and again in july of 2010. the plans were clear and look wonderful. not being an architect or designer, even i could understand the scale and aspect of the remodel. the project sponsors have been
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very clear and communicative about their plans. i received notices from their project sponsors, a notification from the planning department and i reviewed the poster on the house. i am looking forward to having all of the new neighbors. thank you for your time. president olague: thank you. >> good evening. i also will be reading a letter from a neighbor who was unable to be here today. this is the next door neighbor on the other side. i'm sorry i could not be here tonight due to a scheduling conflict. i am in support of my neighbors in regard to permit 2011 311031154. i strongly agree that this project should be approved. i understand the project sponsors propose to convert an existing single family dwelling into a two-family